A few observations for my fellow soul-searching conservatives today.
1. America is an idea, not a country. As long as that idea lives, America will live on. We have a shot.
2. This wound up being a 2 point national race, wherein Romney lost every swing state by a very close margin. So clearly calls to disband the GOP are overreaction (sorry, DJ!).
3. The real lesson from this election: it’s not just the message, it’s not just that the other candidate sucks. It’s that the quality of your candidate matters! This is the biggest lesson the TEA Party must learn. They have been cozying up to every looney tune who claims to be a conservative, without actually considering if that person could articulate conservative principles to a broader audience effectively. Consider the graveyard of TEA party candidates who have been amateurish and caused the American people to associate the term “TEA Party” with “low-quality candidate”: O’Donnell, Miller, Mack, Angle, Akin, Mourdock, McMahon, Mandel, Berg, Rehberg, Buck, etc etc etc. Those 11 races that were thrown away would result in a resounding Senate majority right now if conservatives had nominated better quality candidates. It’s not enough that you want a more conservative candidate. You have to also want a GOOD candidate. And recruitment for 2014 starts NOW. Romney didn’t define himself nor detail his plans for what he would do better. This was a tragic mistake.
4. Sandy killed us here. A friend of mine said that Obama’s shtick is that his whole career, he has been living by ungodly luck. I believe this. 2 weeks ago, Romney wins this going away, by 5 points. Sandy allowed him to stop Romney’s momentum and appear presidential. Now he has to clean up the mess of course, but the timing was ideal for him. Enough to sway maybe 3% of the voting public, which might have been enough.
5. Local GOP leadership matters! We are so far behind on grassroots and turnout operations, it’s not even funny. And then you had messy, internal party squabbles that turned people off. Nevada and Ohio were the worst ones, but not the only ones. Good local GOP leaders were targeted here in VA this year, and replaced in many cases by well-meaning but incompetent newcomers who slowed down the actual grassroots operations to make a point. Congratulations, you made your point- we lost, and you didn’t help.
Case in point: Spotsylvania. GW Bush pulled 64% of Spotsy in 2004. This year, Romney pulled a pedestrian 55%, while there was buffoonery aplenty and amateur hour with two precincts invalidating hundreds of votes and disenfranchising hundreds more because they couldn’t get their act in order. Where was the local GOP leadership? Incompetent, ignorant, timid, absent. When hundreds of voters were turned away while the precincts got their act together, the local GOP should have petitioned the court to allow the polls to stay open an extra hour or two in those two precincts. Yet they did not. Local party leadership matters, and it matters in tangible, real ways for which those people must be held accountable.
And to the Ron Paul folks- I’m not singling you out per se. I’m saying, it’s not enough just to want the positions for philosophical reasons. You actually have to perform in them in competent ways, and if you do not, you should not be in them. That goes for everyone.
6. Here in the Commonwealth, the only area of the state that overperformed compared to 2008 was coal country, SW VA. Those people know their jobs and livelihoods are on the line. Maybe we can re-annex West Virginia?
7. If you are a Republican or conservative candidate, and anyone ever asks you about what you think of rape, for the love of God, the only acceptible response is, “Rape is deplorable and I condemn it, and sympathize with its victims”. Anything else, and we will shoot you. Seriously. Todd Akin and Richard Mourdock, it is entirely possible you cost Mitt Romney this election!
8. I am going to petition Obama for the government to give out Saganaki and Rodidas, because if we are going to become Greece then I at least want to enjoy the cuisine!